Barbarian metalworking

 

Note: for my most current work check my facebook page Barbarian Metalworking

 

The people from the prehistoric and early medieval periods are often pictured as uncivilized barbarians. However, these "barbarians" were actually pretty clever, and masters at many different crafts. In metalwork they reach such high levels, that even with our modern tools and knowledge, many artifacts can not be reproduced. Yet with the simple tools they had available, the made these fantastic artifacts. This forms an inspiration for me to re-learn this craft, and discover some of the secrets of the ancient metalworkers. Of course I can't reach the same levels as they did, but the more experience I get, the further I grow in the crafts, enabling me to reproduce a larger range of artifacts, as well as coming closer to the level of quality of the originals.

The methods I use range from fully authentic to combinations of modern and authentic methods. The goal of this site is to present my work, capture people's interest in the ancient crafts and the cultures that performed them. as well as giving inspiration and ideas to people involved in living history, or modern craftsmen and artists.  For the time being, the information is rather sparse due to time costraints. However, for questions I can be reached at: 

In order to get an impression of the equipement I use, check the casting and forging pages.

Mind that this is playing with fire, so potentially very dangerous! If you want to start casting or forging, check out these safety tips.

If you need artifacts for re-enactment, or just out of interest I now also offer castings for sale: Reproductions for sale

 
 Bronze age
2000-800 B.C.

The bronze age is my main interest. I'm running a seperate site for my work in this period.

Go to the site

Since recently, I've also started making reproductions of bronzes outside of Europe. Some of these can be seen below. Also included are some reproductions of artifacts from the Netherlands, which I did not cast using bronze age methods.
 

Oldest sword
Arslantepe, Turkey
3300-3000BC

Canaanite khopesh
blade by Neil Burridge
Original: Beth-Yanai Coast, Israel, 14th cent B.C.

Bone hilted short sword
Iran
11nd cent. B.C.

Wood hilted short sword
Iran
11nd cent. B.C.

Scythian akinakes
Original: Kam'ianka, Cherkas'ka Oblast, Ukraine, 6th cent. B.C.

 

Mycenean Type G
blade by Neil Burridge

Sögel type sword
Original: Nijmegen, Netherlands, 16th-15nd cent. B.C.

Sögel type sword
Original: Drouwen, Netherlands, 18th-16nd cent. B.C.

Rapier
Original: UK, middle bronze age
blade by Neil Burridge

Ewart park style sword
Original: UK, 900-700 B.C.
blade by Neil Burridge

 

Nick flanged axe
Original: Drouwen, Netherlands, 18th-16nd cent. B.C.

Palstave axe
Original: Leimuiden, Netherlands, middle bronze age

Copper shafthole axe
Original: Varna, Bulgaria, 4500-4000 B.C.

Copper axe adze
Original: Bozuriste, Bulgaria, 3500-3000 B.C.

Copper shafthole axe
Original: Naxos, Greece, 2500-2200 B.C.

Bracelet
Original: Onstwedde Holte, Netherlands, 8th cent B.C.

Jewellery of the Lady of Weerdinge, Netherlands, middle bronze age

Bone & bronze necklace
Orinal: Apolde, Germany, early bronze age

Duckbill axe
Original: Levant , 19th-16th cent B.C.

Khopesh
Original: Tell El Daba, Egypt, ~2000 B.C.

Khopesh
Original: Tell El Daba, Egypt, ~2000 B.C.

 
Iron age - Hallstatt period
800-500 B.C.

The Hallstatt period spans roughly the first half of the iron age. The Hallstatt culture spread the use of iron throughout Europe. During this period, both iron and bronze were used side by side. The Hallstatt period is named after the place Hallstatt in Austria, where due to the salt and iron mines, the local people became very wealthy. In the rest of Europe, graves of similarly rich Hallstatt "kings" have also been found. One such example is the king of Oss, a very rich Hallstatt grave found in the Netherlands.
 

Bronze Mindelheim 
type sword 
blade by Neil Burridge
Original: Kemmathen, Germany, 7th cent. B.C.

 

Arrowheads

King of Oss knife

Woman's knife

 
 
Iron age - La Tene period
500-12 B.C.

The transition from the Hallstatt to La Tene period marks the end of the Hallstatt kings. By this time, iron had completely replaced bronze, and bronze was only used for ornaments. The La Tene people had a very different material culture from the Hallstatt period, with a very unique style of artwork. The end of the La Tene period is marked by the conquest of the Romans.
 

Knife

Knife

Comb

Bracelet

Spearhead

 

Socketed iron axe

 
 
Early medieval period
400-800 A.D.

As you may see from the lack of the Roman period, I'm not particularly keen of the Romans, including their material culture. However, after they buggered off, things start to get interesting again. During the next few centuries, some of the most incredible metalwork was produced.
 

Bird fibula
(Original in silver, with garnet eye)

Bird fibula

Bird fibula

S-fibula

Fibula with bird head decorations

 

Side knife (for a broadsax)
600-650AD
Netherlands

Narrow sax 
~600AD
Germany

Broad sax 
600-700AD
Germany

Long sax
700-800AD
Netherlands

Woman's knife
6th century
Rhenen, Netherlands

 

Light wrought iron axe
Dorestad, Netherlands

 

Viking period
800-1066 A.D.

The crafts of the early medieval period were continued for the most part in the Viking period, though with some decline however. Still some amazing pieces of craftmanship were made during this period.
 

Thor's hammer (tin)

Thor's hammer (bronze)

Thor's hammer (silver)

 

forging hammer

 

Broken back style sax
(Honey lane type)
800-1100AD
UK

Broken back style sax
(Honey lane type)
800-1100AD
UK

Broken back style sax
(Honey lane type)
800-1100AD
UK

Pattern welded broken back style longsax
800-1100AD
Heusden, Netherlands

 
 
Contemporary

These are some projects which have no direct historical basis, or not meant to be actual reproductions. Some are a bit of artistic explorations, others tools that I wanted to make or just random doodles. Nevertheless, I use a lot of the knowledge and skills from the historical reproductions. Sometimes these comtemporary pieces also function to experiment with new techniques.
 

Seax-like knife

 Small woodworking knife

 Draw knife

 

Key-hanger of the bronze age skydisc of Nebra

Early medieval style bottle opener

Maori friendship symbol

Bronze elephant

Silver bronze
Inca axe shaped hanger

 

Bronze miniature of a bronze age wooden figure from Ireland

Shibuichi (copper-silver alloy) ring

Silver rings

Chef knife, Roman inspired

Painting: ochre/oil paint, based on Scandinavian bronze age rockart

 

Silver porpoise

 Copper figurine, inspired by original around at one of the oldest copper working sites, around 5000BC, Plocnik Serbia

 "Sun furnace", furnace I use at home for casting